Miss Depression = Royal Signet

Thursday, 24 October 1929. Black Thursday. The capitalistic bubble bursts when the Wall Street Stock Exchange crashes.

In the Roaring Twenties, the Central Bank misleads itself by pumping too much money into the economy. The consequence: producers and consumers borrow blithely. They buy durable goods, such as ... typewriters.

However, it is then 'pay-back time'. The banks demand their money back and do not get it. They are assailed by panicky savers who want to cash in their savings. The economic bubble bursts.

The Western world slides into an economic decline never before witnessed. During the Great Depression, the economic activity of America plummets by forty percent. A quarter of the working population is out of work. And the consumer? He hoards his money. The typewriter manufacturers are desperate and search for methods to make their machines cheaper.

Stripped Royal Signet

Royal brings a cheap machine onto the market (30 dollars) by trimming away all functions that are not necessary.

The result is the Royal Signet from 1932.
A machine that only writes in capitals.
That makes the hammers half as expensive,
and no lever mechanism is needed to shift
between upper and lower case letters.

Any other savings? The ribbon gives up its red strip and the machine it's left knob. The metal bodywork is wafer thin with a coat of paint like sandpaper. In other words: a wreck of a typewriter ... Read all about it>

Half-hearted Remington 3b

Remington tries half-heartedly to save metal in the run-up to the Second World War.

The Remington 3b hasn't got four rows of keys, but three and a half. It also scraps the standard facilities: two-colored ribbon, tabulator, backspace, margin release, and shift lock ... all gone!
In contrast to the Signet, it thankfully keeps its curvy looks.

Yet the Remington 3b is a flop. In January 1936, after six months of producing at least five thousand machines, Remington packs it in as regards the 3b. That makes this machine rare and interesting to collectors. Ironic how a machine that was made to be inexpensive, is eventually worth more than its successful congeners. Read all about it>

Depression typewriters by Will Davis


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